Spurgeon on the Christian Soldier’s Great Love

Please plan a time over the next few days to read Spurgeon’s sermon on 2 Timothy 2:3, “A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ.” Outside of the Scriptures themselves, I doubt that you’ll read much that will be so profitable for your soul and Christ’s kingdom. I read a fair amount of Spurgeon, and I don’t think I’ve ever read another of his sermons that so helped and moved me. In it he deals with the nature of spiritual warfare, enduring hardship, heroic commitment to Christ’s work, personal evangelism, the relationship of the Christian church with the state, the need of separation from error (specifically in his day, from the Anglican Church—I’ll post on that later), and other matters of eternal consequence. I know that this statement is made too frequently, but this really is a must-read! Take some time to work through it, then come back and share your thoughts. You’ll be blessed by it, and doubly blessed to fellowship over it.

Now, I may post several highlights from it over the next week. I’ll start with what first caught my attention, and that is the way Spurgeon addressed the Christian soldier’s affections. I posted an article some time ago entitled “Gospel-Driven Separation” that insisted upon our being motivated by a love of Christ and His gospel as we “earnestly contend for the faith.” I believe that there is a very real temptation for fundamentalists to love the conflict rather than Christ, His gospel, and His church. If you’ve not read it, I urge you to do so…after you read the Spurgeon sermon.

Anyway, here is the portion in which Spurgeon strikes the same chord:

“[T]he Christian soldier not only acknowledges Jesus to be his King, but his heart is full of loving devotion to him as such. Nothing can make his heart leap like the mention of that august, that more than royal name. He remembers who Jesus is, the Son of God, “the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God.” He remembers what Jesus did, how he loved him, and gave himself for him; he looks to the cross, and remembers the streams of blood whereby the elect were redeemed, even when they were enemies to God. He remembers Christ in heaven, enthroned at the right hand of the Father, he loves him there, and it ravishes his heart to think that God hath highly exalted the once-despised and rejected One, and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. He pants for the time when the Crucified shall come in his glory, and rule the nations as their liege Lord. He loves Jesus so that he feels he belongs to him altogether, bought with his blood, redeemed by his power, and comforted by his presence; he delights to know that he is not his own, for he is bought with a price. And since he loves his King, and loves him with an ardor unquenchable, for many waters cannot drown his love, neither can the floods quench it, he loves all the King’s brethren and servants for the
King’s sake; he hails his brethren in arms with hearty affection; he loves the grand old banner of the gospel; he prays for the wind of the Holy Spirit to expand its furls, that all eyes may behold its beauties; he is steadfast in the faith once delivered to the saints, and rejoices so much at every doctrine of the gospel that he would gladly lay down his life to preserve it to the
world. Above all, he loves the crown of his King, and the cause of his Master. Oh, could he set the Captain of his salvation higher among men, he would be content to die in the ditch of neglect and scorn; could he but see the King come to his own, and the heir of all things loyally acknowledged by his revolted provinces, he would be satisfied whatever might become of
himself. His heart is more than loyal, it is full of personal affection for the chief among ten thousand. I ask you, brethren, whether it is so with you?”

What a glorious description of our Savior. And what a penetrating question he closes with. Do we love Christ? Are we moved to contend by a passion for Him and His work, or do we simply enjoy the battle? Further, if we claim to love the Commander, do we love our fellow believers–our “brethren in arms”? In short, what is it that motivates our doing battle royal? If the answer is something other than love for Christ and Christ’s, we need to repent.

Now, go read A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ, then come back and let me know what you think.


One Response

  1. Chris,
    As you say, it is a temptation to love the conflict, which distracts from what should be our first love, Christ. Love for one’s own party (dispy, fundy, reformed, whatever), where service to one’s particular “camp” becomes the motivation, rather than service to Christ, is a real danger.

    Thanks for recommending the Spurgeon sermon. As a busy layperson, it’s difficult make time to read as much good Christian literature as I would like. Sermon recommendations like that are great, because there is so much “good stuff” packed into a relatively short reading.

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